Ardern on foreign policy and trade

After her first international trip after becoming Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, in  report from Newsroom – Ardern adjusts to life at the top – Sam Sachdeva reports on her vision on foreign policy and her aims on trade.

Leading on climate change and nuclear-free

The summits were a chance not only to meet world leaders, but for Ardern to articulate her vision for New Zealand’s foreign policy.

She admitted to having big shoes to fill, with her discussions making clear the respect held for our country on the world stage.

“I’ve always known that to be true, but to see it enforced in these forums…is a real testament to the work that’s been done before, and the work all year round that our representatives do.”

During the election campaign, Ardern described climate change as “the nuclear-free movement of our generation”, providing a hint of how she wants to mix the old with the new in New Zealand’s advocacy.

“We have been strong advocates on issues like nuclear non-proliferation and that is as relevant now as it’s ever been, particularly when it comes to the Korean peninsula, and so playing a role in being consistent advocates, particularly from a position of always taking a really principled stance I think is important.”

At her speech to the Apec CEO’s Summit, Ardern spoke about climate change “lapping at our feet” in the Asia-Pacific, and she said it was an area where New Zealand could speak up for others who could be the worst affected.

“I wasn’t the only one [talking about climate change], but there weren’t many of us, and I do think it’s an issue that needs consistent advocacy because in some of those forums there’s an absence of the groups that are directly affected, but the overall Asia-Pacific will feel its impact hugely and yet have some of the most deprived populations in the world as well.”

In a speech during the election campaign Ardern referred to climate change: “This is my generation’s nuclear-free moment, and I am determined that we will tackle it head on.”

Globalising trade and rights

Under John Key and Bill English, New Zealand was an ardent supporter of free trade and globalisation.

While Ardern did sign off on what is now the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), there are signs that she may pursue a more nuanced approach to the benefits of trade.

“We absolutely, absolutely support free trade, but alongside that we’ve got the opportunity now within our trade agenda to say alongside supporting free trade, we have the ability to try to create some architecture that means that we also start globalising rights as well.”

That meant ensuring trade ageements didn’t “simply have trade chase or flow into the country with the lowest labour standards and the lowest wages”.

With social inclusion one of the points of focus at Apec, Ardern said her government was not alone in plotting a new approach.

“What’s clear is that we have started hitting those road blocks where non-tariff barriers and protectionism still exists, and some of the rationale for that is there has been a pushback on trade agendas that haven’t filtered down into prosperity.

“Actually if we really want to sell the benefits of trade, we have to make sure people start feeling the benefits of trade as well, and that’s the next challenge.”

That means more than paying lip service to a new narrative, as Ardern notes: “We can’t just claim that we’re telling the story that hasn’t been told before.”

She points to CPTPP provisions that will allow countries to enforce labour standards – a first for a trade agreement – as a sign of what is possible.

“Basic as they may be, that’s a starting point, and when you start hearing negotiators from countries advocating for their use, because it’s enabled them to start enforcing standards on multinationals operating in their country, where they haven’t successfully been able to pass domestic legislation, then you start seeing the tools that we have in this wider agenda.”

While climate change will be an ongoing test of Ardern’s tenure as Prime Minister the CPTPP is an early test of both Ardern and Labour’s trade aims and priorities, and it is also likely to be a test of Labour’s relationshiip with partners in Government, NZ First and particularly the Greens.

25 Comments

  1. alloytoo

     /  November 17, 2017

    There’s a very strong argument that the global nuclear free movement in the 70’s and 80’s are largely responsible for our current reliance on burning hydro-carbons.

    As I recall our biggest climate fear in the 70’s was the impending ice-age.

    • Corky

       /  November 17, 2017

      Correct. Our teacher told us one day the sun would disappear and the world would be dark forever and permanently covered with ice. A few aspiring liberals burst into tears. I didn’t know they were liberals at the time. We just called them ”poofs.” 🙃

      • Gezza

         /  November 17, 2017

        Yeah. Right. About as believable as a lot of your other bollocks.

      • Corky

         /  November 17, 2017

        Nasty prat alert. Remember it well. 1971. Our teacher later went to jail in 1975 for child sex abuse.

        He said: ” no sun, no food, no life…we will all die”. Obviously this prat didn’t believe what he was saying, but decided to take his sadistic tendencies out on naive school children. Thank god that’s all he did to us.

        • Corky

           /  November 17, 2017

          Teacher have always been a feral lot. Must be their ideology.

          Remember David Benson-Pope?

          • Gezza

             /  November 17, 2017

            Nasty prat alert.
            What fkn use is putting this after you’ve posted several times? It should’ve gone ahead of your first post, the one about poofs. Anyway, you don’t need it. It’s a given for you, bud.

          • Gezza

             /  November 17, 2017

            I’ve got an eel to feed. Get back to me. Let me know if there’s anything on 1ewes worth watching on the Plus One Channel.
            Thanks Corks.
            6.00 pm

  2. robertguyton

     /  November 17, 2017

    Odd title, Pete’s.

  3. David

     /  November 17, 2017

    “Leading on climate change and nuclear-free”

    But if you really believed climate change was a serious problem, nuclear power is the primary tool we have to solve it for most of the world.

    • Gezza

       /  November 17, 2017

      I’m not convinced we’ve properly solved the problem of what to do with the radioactive waste. And how many other Chernobyls, Three Mile Islands, & Fukushimas are still waiting to happen? Cost cutting & familiarity breeding contempt is all it takes.

    • “But if you really believed climate change was a serious problem, nuclear power is the primary tool we have to solve it for most of the world.”
      I do and it isn’t. Changing the source of electrical energy won’t solve climate change. In any case, are you aware of how much concrete is needed for the construction of nuclear power plants and associated structures and how much cement production contributes to climate change?

      • High Flying Duck

         /  November 17, 2017

        Nuclear energy has one of the very lowest lifetime Greenhouse gass emission profiles, on a par with wind and better than hydro (according to the IPCC).

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life-cycle_greenhouse-gas_emissions_of_energy_sources

        Speaking of which – do you know how much concrete is needed for the construction of hydro generation?

        There is a lot of ignorance and misinformation around the safety and efficacy of Nuclear power, mainly promulgated by the Greens who let idealism get in the way of knowledge every time.

        • Gezza

           /  November 17, 2017

          Well, tell it the survivors of Chernobyl & the residents around Fukushima. I know we can’t just shut down every nuclear power plant & they have been the best solution to many countries energy needs, but I hope the search will still go on for energy solutions that don’t produce radioactive waste or carry the risk of radioactive pollution via fallout & leakage into ground/seawater when something does wrong.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  November 17, 2017

            That’s like saying we shouldn’t have plane flights because of Malaysia Airlines.

            You can tell the families of the passengers what you like – the planes keep flying and they are safer than car travel still.

            The argument is completely ridiculous and beneath you Gezza.

            The basic facts are that Nuclear has lower environmental effects, kills (many many) fewer people than pretty much any other form of generation – including solar and hydro – and is incredibly reliable.

            You are dismissing it based on irrationality.

            • Blazer

               /  November 17, 2017

              well atomic duck,it may take awhile for your nuclear passion to ignite here in…Aotearoa.

            • Gezza

               /  November 17, 2017

              No I think the risks of flying – or getting killed crossing the street – or getting caught in a gunfight – are separate issues HFD. The potential for nuclear power plant disasters has been realised already. That’s not to mention the potential for radioactive waste to end up in the hands of the wrong people like terrorists when a country with power plants disintegrates – which has possibly happened with the former USSR.

              I am simply saying if we could eliminate that I would be happier. Something else will come along. I’m an optimist in that respect. I’ll read your linked article below though.

          • Alloytoo

             /  November 17, 2017

            Ironically those events are more like to occur because of green fanatics. The world could have installed new generation plants and invest heavily in new designs. The abundant supply of energy would have facilitated BEVs far earlier than current uptake.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  November 17, 2017

        According to Yale:
        “The collective LCA literature indicates that life cycle GHG emissions from nuclear power are only a fraction of traditional fossil sources and comparable to renewable technologies.”

        • Blazer

           /  November 17, 2017

          its a wonderful idea…Duck…just the thing NZ tourism and export branding needs..NZ purely Atomic,powered.

  4. Fight4NZ

     /  November 17, 2017

    Why are so many arguments here made on the premise of some ludicrous red herring.
    This time citing a report to say there is infinitesimal amounts of radiation outside power plants. And? Who ever said there wasn’t under normal operating conditions.
    But in an earthquake or tsunami or military attack I’ll take living next to a coal or hydro or wind farm thanks if it is all the same with you.
    Inside the walls is massive radiation and the means to produce the necessary materials for weaponry able to decimate the planet. Great option, well spotted!

    • patupaiarehe

       /  November 18, 2017

      Given NZ’s ‘hilly geography’, we have no need for nuclear power. Water vs gravity can supply enough energy for most, with a little help from our plentiful reserves of coal & gas…